Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for September 25, 2016

Literary Gardener: Permaculture design brings nature and people together

“An ecological garden both looks and works the way nature does. It does this by building strong connections among the plants, soil life, beneficial insects and other animals, and the gardener …”

— Toby Hemenway, “Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture,” 2009


Four years ago, Jerry and I decided to replace most of our front lawn with edible and ornamental plants. It wasn’t a difficult choice because the yard was a hodgepodge of grasses, moss, dandelion and clover, all of which eked out a miserable living by becoming waterlogged during winter and burning up in summer.

Since then, we’ve been striving to make our individual garden plots work together as a whole, or as Toby Hemenway puts it, “a resilient, natural webwork.”

Such is the goal of permaculture, a term that was coined in the 1970s by Australian field naturalist Bill Mollison, who wrote “Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual” in 1988. Permaculture uses a set of principles and practices for designing ecologically sound and productive landscapes. The focus is on creating relationships among landscape elements so they coalesce into a functioning system that is healthy, sustainable and beautiful. That is exactly what Jerry and I want to achieve in our front (and back) yard gardens.

We’ll have help accomplishing our goal by participating in some of the classes that will address permaculture at the Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens symposium, taking place Nov. 5 at the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center in Medford. For more details, see

One such class is “Urban Homesteading” presented by Richard and Tresa Jarel. As an Oregon State University-certified Land Steward and Master Gardener, respectively, the Jarels have transformed their city property into an urban farm by utilizing permaculture principles. Tresa, who also earned a permaculture certificate from OSU, says, “What I love about permaculture is that the philosophy considers all of the systems we live in, how we affect those systems, and how we can nurture them, create them, or just get out of the way of them.”

Tresa says much of what they have done in creating their “urban utopia” is to create self-renewable systems. For example, the Jarels raise mealworms in oatmeal and keep them happily reproducing by feeding them kale and root vegetables from the garden. The protein-rich worms are used for feeding the chickens and tilapia that are also raised on the property.

“I don’t need to purchase so much commercial feed, which further cuts down on my consumerism,” Tresa says.

Another class aimed at sustainability is “Chickens and Ducks for Suburban Gardening” taught by OSU Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver De Davis-Guy. De raises chickens, ducks and bees on a small property in Gold Hill where she fertilizes her vegetable and flower gardens only with duck and chicken waste. De says ducks and chickens are also useful in gardens because “they eat insects, scratch up weeds, and their bedding makes excellent mulch.”

Their eggshells return calcium to the soil and can be used to deter soft-bodied garden pests such as slugs, De says.

Local ecological landscape designer Andy Fischer will also address permaculture in his session titled “Food Forests.” He’ll focus on planting food-producing trees, shrubs, perennials, herbs and vines to create a visually pleasing and productive landscape that mimics a natural forest ecosystem.

I’m also excited about botanist Linda McMahan’s class, “Are You an Ecological Gardener?” Linda, who worked for OSU in the Department of Horticulture until she retired in 2014, will provide practical tips for conserving water and other natural resources, including wildlife.

With so many experts on hand at the symposium, I feel confident I can create a landscape that, as Hemenway describes, “feels like nature but provides an abundant home for people as well.”

— Rhonda Nowak is a member of the Jackson County Master Gardener Association and teaches writing at Rogue Community College. Email her at

Article source:

Heavenly Gardens luncheon at Beautification League

Jan Johnsen’s Heavenly Gardens presentation at the New Canaan Beautification League Autumn Luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Woodway Country Club from 11:30-2 will focus on creating simplicity, sanctuary and delight in the garden.

She will explore ways to use the power of place, layout and shapes, the cardinal directions and use of color to create landscapes that elevate your mood and increase your sense of well-being.  Sale of her book, Heaven is a Garden, will be coordinated on site by Elm Street Books.

The public is invited to attend. Tickets at $40 per person will not be sold at the door.  

Johnsen is a professional landscape designer and principal of the established design/build firm Johnsen Landscapes Pools in Westchester, NY.  She is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University and an award winning instructor at New York Botanical Garden.  Her distinctive work is highlighted in the spring issue of Garden Design Magazine.

Jan is from the New York area, but her world travels have had significant impact on her understanding of landscape form and function.  She calls her designs a “blend of modern and traditional practices, some that go back thousands of years.”

The luncheon menu features butternut squash bisque and popovers; entrée choice of roasted chicken paillard with arugula and heirloom tomato salad; roasted Atlantic salmon with quinoa, braised rainbow chard and tarragon sauce or vegetarian option upon request; berry cobbler, tea and coffee. For reservations send a check with choice of entrée noted and payable to NCBL to: Karen Mactas, 306 Greenley Road, New Canaan, CT 06840. Checks must be received no later than Sept. 26.  For more information call Gloria Simon or Sara Hunt at 203-966-3313.

A heavenly gardens luncheon takes place at the New Canaan Beautification League’s Autumn luncheon, Oct. 5. Jan Johnsen and her book, Heaven is a Garden.

Jan Johnsen, and her book, Heaven is a Garden.

Article source:

Gardens shopping plaza’s rebirth brings new life for abandoned theater

Promenade Plaza, the shopping center on Alternate A1A shrouded by trees, has struggled for a long time, despite the 25,000 cars that pass by each day.

But there are signs that’s about to change, the owners of established and new businesses in the plaza say.

»To read the latest headlines from Palm Beach Gardens, go to, or follow us on our Gardens Facebook page

After Woolbright Development got involved late last year, it started looking better. The Boca Raton company painted the Publix-anchored plaza and fixed its roof. It repaired curbing that had fallen into disrepair and made sure all the lighting worked. It prettied the place up with nicer landscaping.

More importantly, Woolbright recruited a slew of new tenants — including an outlet of the popular Bealls department store — in less than a year. Other additions include two restaurants (Qwzine and Five and Ten Spot), a furniture consignment store and a multi-sensory gym that’s inclusive for kids with developmental delays such as autism.


The owners of new and established business in Promenade Plaza on Alternate A1A are optimistic Woolbright Development can turn the shopping … read more

A conversion of the defunct movie theater into a 25,500-square-foot new home for Planet Fitness is in the works. Planet Fitness will move from its current location in the plaza.

Woolbright partnered with LSREF2 Promenade LLC, a property investor, to redevelop the plaza. No one from Woolbright provided comment as of Friday afternoon, despite multiple requests throughout the week.

Cutting Edge Chic Hair Salon owner Lauretta Sherman said it’s been a tough four years because the plaza has been so “derelict.” Now that it’s in better shape and a diverse mix of shops is moving in, she’s optimistic. She and her staff were gussying up the salon with painting and decor recently.


The former movie theater at the Promenade Plaza shopping center on Alternate A1A is being renovated into a larger home for … read more

“We’re really all going for it … It’s going to come into it’s own, I hope,” Sherman said. “If we can get the people back, it will be wonderful.”

Once the substantial physical improvements are completed, the plaza will be well-positioned for success, Palm Beach Gardens Mayor Marcie Tinsley said.

Tenaga Kava, a kava, tea and coffee bar, opened in December, co-owner Danielle Fortier said. The gym for kids should attract families, Bealls is popular, and the Planet Fitness will be much larger, she said. All of that is good for business.

“I’m sure we’ll get a little more foot traffic,” she said.

The Bealls Outlet is tentatively scheduled for a soft opening around the end of October and a grand opening the first week of November. Triumph Kids, the multi-sensory gym, is looking at a mid-November opening.

Palm Beach Gardens Ace Hardware has endured in the plaza for 27 years. Many of the other stores couldn’t survive the hit of the recession and went out of business, said Joe Lingelbach, a managing partner of the hardware store. They also faced competition from Legacy Place and Downtown at the Gardens when they opened.

The hardware store has done well for the last several years, Lingelbach said. The improvements can only help business.

“It was a pretty dead plaza for a long time,” Lingelbach said. “What they’re doing is making the plaza a lot better for our customers, a lot safer, and the stores they have coming in here, it’s going to bring more people coming in from a wider range or distance than we have right now.”

Article source:

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW: Tips for deterring deer from gardens, damaging trees

Editor’s note: How Does Your Garden Grow is a series the Gazette will feature again this growing season, provided by master gardener Ken Oles of Wrentham. He will discuss various backyard gardening topics, and answer your gardening questions.


Q: Are there any steps that I can take to prevent deer from ruining my vegetable garden and causing damage to low-hanging tree branches and shrubs?

A: White-tailed deer are native herbivores that cause much damage to plants and continue to be a problem in our New England gardens in the city as well as in the country.  Their numbers have dramatically increased over the past decades due to a lack of natural predators, fragmented landscapes (think of local farmland that has been developed), and changing social values about hunting.  

White-tail deer may use a variety of habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and marshy areas, but they are opportunists and suburban development with its mixture of trees, shrubs and lawns provide a safe, predator-free environment.

In suburban gardens and backyards, landscaping provides excellent deer forage and growth of deer herds is unchecked, resulting in unrecoverable damage to our gardens, shrubs and trees. 

In our forests, overgrazing by deer alters natural habitats and affects other wildlife while contributing to the rampant spread of invasive plant species.  Barriers and some repellents are effective, but in a severe natural food dearth, they may not prevent foraging.

While some plants, such as hostas (often referred to as “deer candy”) are preferred and are regular fare, other plants are never touched.  In vegetable gardens, the best deterrence is a tall fence.  I have witnessed deer bounding over a 7-foot high fence from a standing posture!  The most effective repellents have rotten eggs and garlic as part of their ingredients and will need to be applied every two weeks or sooner during the growing season if there is heavy or extended precipitation. 

When choosing ornamentals for your landscape, choose deer-resistant varieties and protect them during severe deer pressure.


Ken Oles is a Wrentham resident and a life member of the URI Master Gardener Association ( He is also the coordinator for the Harvests from the Heart community garden in Wrentham that produces fresh produce for the Wrentham Food Pantry. Ken is a member of the board of directors and co-president of Masschusetts Agriculture in the Classroom. He can be reached at





Article source:

Three spring gardening jobs

It may still feel like winter but spring is here and Sabrina Hahn has these timely tips to help your garden grow.

Pinch out the tips of chilli seedlings. Picture: Danella Bevis

1. Pinch out the tips of chilli seedlings to encourage a shrubby shape and more fruit.

2. Plant out choko fruit half submerged in the soil to get a fast-growing vine around chicken coops.

3. Apply rock dust to strawberry plants and water well.

Apply rock dust to strawberries. Picture: Getty Images

Did you know?

Worms can eat their weight in soil every day and though they don’t have teeth their stomach has particles that grind down the food.

Do you have a question for Sabrina?

Write to Habitat Ask Sabrina, GPO Box N1025, Perth WA 6843, or email

Please include your full name and suburb. Due to the volume of questions, not all will be answered.

Article source:

Sarah Browning: Tips for pruning different raspberry types





Article source:

Garden Sage: Tips to attract lizards to your home





Article source: